Marching After College

This month, many students will don caps and gowns to receive their diplomas. With graduation comes the anticipation of new experiences and sometimes the end of beloved activities.

After leaving Northwestern University where I had been a part of the Wildcat Marching Band, I lamented the fact that my marching career seemed to be over.

Luckily, I managed to find a few other ways to stay involved in playing music. When I moved from Chicago to Minneapolis, my husband and I searched out a community concert band. Our director had received his doctoral conducting degree from Northwestern, so we shared a history in common.

But after another move to California, career growth and children, I gradually lost touch with my instrument. Right now, my flute sits sadly in its case on a top shelf of my closet. Some of your instruments might have already suffered the same fate or soon will. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Most likely, concert groups or other small ensembles exist in your area. But if marching is your one true love, there are still opportunities beyond college.

Senior drum and bugle corps compete during the summer, ending in the Drum Corps Associates championship in Rochester, N.Y. Visit to find a corps in your area.

If you’d rather have a less structured environment or play only wind instruments, find out if your high school, college or corps has an alumni band. While almost all schools gather alums at homecoming, some have more active groups that get together for parades, community functions and trips. Get ideas for how to stay more involved with your alma mater.

You could also research your local sports teams. Professional football, basketball and even soccer organizations have drum lines or pep bands. Just like high school and college marching bands, these ensembles pump up the crowd and support their teams. Learn about some of these high-energy groups in “Taking the NBA Court.”

And if there isn’t a marching band in your area, consider starting one. Get inspired by the story of Get a Life Marching Band. The group recently marched in the presidential inaugural parade and has performed in other events all over the United States. Many other major cities have similar all-age bands.

Finally, you can stay involved by teaching, volunteering, judging or working for a marching-related company. The story “Women in Percussion” tells how four influential female percussionists stay ahead in the marching field.

So if you think that marching ends at college, think again. I hope this issue inspires you to keep your instruments warm long after you receive your diploma.

Musically Yours,
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

About the author

Christine Ngeo Katzman

Christine Ngeo Katzman has played the flute since the age of 8. She marched in the Northwestern University Marching Band, including the 1996 Rose Bowl and 1997 Citrus Bowl. She graduated cum laude from Northwestern with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1997. Since then, she has worked in the publishing industry as a writer and editor and helped launch Play Music, a magazine for recreational musicians, sponsored by American Music Group (now Music and Arts Center). In the summer of 2006, Christine worked at Yamaha where she interacted with staff and students in various marching bands and drum corps. Christine earned her MBA with honors from the University of Southern California in May 2007.